Brian Florenzo: Physiology & Neurobiology, Spanish, Class of 2020

For me, the college selection process was stressful and quite overwhelming at times. After months of filling out applications, going to interviews, and anxiously waiting for decisions, by April I had a number of college options to consider, UMD included. I looked for primarily three things in my school selection process: academic excellence, diversity, and a sense of community. Of course, I knew that UMD had a diverse student body with countless opportunities for academic and personal exploration, but I was truly persuaded by ILS's dedication to student success and the bonds fostered within students in the same cohorts. To be frank, ILS was the primary reason I chose to come to the University of Maryland. Being in the program for close to a year now, the two main things that really make ILS special for me are its dedication to student success and the amazing community of people I have met.  

ILS academics speak for themselves. During the spring of my senior year, I attended an ILS information session during the last few weeks before deposits were due, and I was simply blown away by their level of dedication and concern for student success and wellness both in and out of the classroom--an approach that yields impressive results. I actually received my current on-campus research position through an upper-class ILSer, and I cannot recall the number of times I have come to ILS staff for guidance on a whole host of issues. This winter, I traveled with other ILS students to London, and in the Spring I will be going to Topsail, NC through our Alternative Break Program. These experiences have been and truly will be immeasurably rewarding, and I'm sure they'll be some of my most memorable experiences throughout the rest of my life. 

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I met a group of fellow ILS students during summer orientation, and throughout the following months I have not only maintained these friendships, but have also built upon them to make some of the best and closest friends I have ever had. When we aren't in class, busy with clubs and research, or talking to professors, we are binge-watching Netflix until 3 am, going to Route 1 to explore new restaurants, and constantly talking in the lounge (you know, normal college things). My ILS friends are continuously supportive and collaborative, and all of us stick together through thick and thin both in and out of the classroom. In hindsight, I realize that coming to ILS and UMD was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Anyone who knows me realizes that in addition to science and medicine, I have a passion for languages, geography, and foreign culture. I hope to use the personal skills and professional opportunities that have been given to me by ILS to continue to explore all my passions through a career related to public health.